Here’s a roundup of news from the second day of our GDC 2018 coverage. We go hands-on with Budget Cuts, Google presents ARCore and Maps API-enabled apps, Squanch Games’ Daydream exclusive title announced, and Magic Leap talks about developing games for a spatial computing platform.

Hands-on with ‘Budget Cuts’

Image courtesy Neat Corp

Developer Neat Corporation has resurfaced with stealth action game Budget Cuts, due for release on May 16th for HTC Vive and Oculus Rift. We go hands-on with the latest build at GDC, which retains most of the core mechanics found in the impressive pre-alpha demo from 2016. The robots have been redesigned to be more imposing, and you have to be more accurate with your knife throwing if you want to take them down in one hit. Light and shadow plays a bigger role in the stealth system, and there are more objects to pick up and interact with.

Google highlights 4 ARCore apps

Image courtesy TendAR

The ARCore SDK is enabling a wide range of AR apps on flagship Android smartphones, and Google highlighted two apps that launched this week and two coming later in the year. There is a new “which box?” feature on eBay’s app, which helps a seller calculate the size of packaging required for an item, and Google just launched mobile art app Just a Line, which allows video recording of simple spatial drawings. Planned for Q2 2018 is the Google Maps API-enabled The Walking Dead: Our World, and TendAR is a game arriving in July, involving a virtual fish that responds to facial expressions.

Google Maps API for game development

Image courtesy Google

The Google Maps team has built an SDK that allows Google Maps geodata to be used in the Unity game engine. This allows for smartphone AR games to combine with real-world locations, taking the Pokémon Go (2016) style of game to the next level. The rich data available from Google Maps has incredible potential for game environment creation, particularly when combined with procedural rendering systems.

'Rec Room' to Roll Out Full-body Avatars in March

Squanch Games reveal exclusive Daydream game

Image courtesy Squanch Games

Dr. Splorchy Presents: Space Heroes is the first in a series of games exclusive to Google’s Daydream VR platform from Squanch Games, formerly known as Squanchtendo. Little is known about the project so far, but fans of Rick and Morty will likely be drawn to its comedic style, as it comes from the mind of Justin Roiland, co-creator of the animated series.

Magic Leap talk on games and AI

Image courtesy Magic Leap

Interaction Director Alessia Laidacker and Interaction Lab Director Brian Schwab from Magic Leap presented a talk on creating games for a spatial computing platform. It discussed high-level concepts relating to user context, as well as the important design elements for AR, and how AR characters need to behave. We expect a deeper dive into Magic Leap development on Thursday.

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The trial version of Microsoft’s Monster Truck Madness probably had something to do with it. And certainly the original Super Mario Kart and Gran Turismo. A car nut from an early age, Dominic was always drawn to racing games above all other genres. Now a seasoned driving simulation enthusiast, and former editor of Sim Racer magazine, Dominic has followed virtual reality developments with keen interest, as cockpit-based simulation is a perfect match for the technology. Conditions could hardly be more ideal, a scientist once said. Writing about simulators lead him to Road to VR, whose broad coverage of the industry revealed the bigger picture and limitless potential of the medium. Passionate about technology and a lifelong PC gamer, Dominic suffers from the ‘tweak for days’ PC gaming condition, where he plays the same section over and over at every possible combination of visual settings to find the right balance between fidelity and performance. Based within The Fens of Lincolnshire (it’s very flat), Dominic can sometimes be found marvelling at the real world’s ‘draw distance’, wishing virtual technologies would catch up.
  • Luke

    for me budget cut is a AAA game. a real KA and the most wanted game since I tried and started to look at VR videos gamplay on youtube even before buying Oculus Rift. And after bought it, and playied at the demo I was so amazed that it is right now one of my favorites experiences I have had in VR. about the demo all I can say is that the level of immersion and style are 10/10 for me. I have faith for the final release. <3

    • benz145

      AAA usually describes production value; we’re quite excited about Budget Cuts too, but in terms of production, it falls safely into the indie space IMO. That’s not to say it doesn’t stand to be a great game, just that it doesn’t have the same level of obsessive polish and scope that a AAA game with greater resources would be expected to have.

      • Harry Cox

        Typically AAA games tend to be less creative too as they are designed by committee (multiple committees). Of course this is not always the case. But there is certainly more creative freedom (and creative potential) with indie games.

        I’m not too fussed about how shiny the games are, just as long as their core function and idea is well thought out.

        Agreed though, this is definitely not a traditional AAA game

      • Luke

        usually I would say the same for a indy game. but for this one the level of immersion is so high that the “wow” factor (for me) was strong as it was when for the first time I played super mario 64 after the SNES era.

        objectively I cant’s say this game is a AAA, but I can say it with my “feelings”.

  • oompah

    However I urge google to create easily navigable maps/streetview
    similar to TES Skyrim (hah ha) becuz at present
    it is so cumbersome to use it:
    move ahead , wait for the pic to come up
    turn , wait for the pic to appear
    for that the google should also provide a facility
    so that let the user decide his/her line of navigation
    and provide data/pics for all along it
    say on the map , a user draws a line , then
    streetview starts bring in all the pics along that line
    to be viewed in VR box
    starting from the position of the user in streetview,
    let google download all possible pics in the network
    a few hundred meters from it

    Streetview is great but ahem,
    There r many possibilities, but at present the navigation in streetview
    is simply meant for grandparents (who viewed pics one at a time hah ha)

    Imagine a VR world (also time lapsed old ones too)
    in which u can roam around freely
    as in a game, without having to wait for the pics to download
    This kinda application would make VR games useless

    Why play with unreal when u have real world

    And imagine visiting famous places (in streetview) after
    nuclear WW3 (if the data or the internet survives)

  • Courtney A Jeff

    The highest the price the more rare it is and valuable.Soon as products get huge price drops and onto the shelves of Wal-Mart their not as in demand as a rare item.Praise Jesus my Lord and Savior.

    • Paula

      Google paying all people 97 US dollars/hr to work parttime on the laptop .. Labor for few period of time daily & live happy greater time together with your loved ones .. You can also apply this special offer!!!on weekend I purchased a latest Chevrolet after I been getting $18200 this-past/six weeks .it is truly my favourite-work but you can now not forgive yourself if you don’t take a look at this.!lf01x:➸➸➸ http://GoogleHelloPartTimeJobsFromHome/get/pay/$99/hourly ♥♥♥n♥♥e♥♥e♥♥♥j♥x♥x♥♥♥u♥♥q♥♥♥d♥c♥c♥♥z♥♥♥c♥o♥♥s♥♥♥z♥j♥s♥♥♥g♥♥♥h♥♥♥e♥♥♥i♥♥b♥♥q♥i:!ef73o:pkosfkjk

    • Harry Cox